RECORD: Darwin, C. R. [1858]. Draft of Origin of species, Introduction?, fair copy folio 10. CUL-DAR64.2.28v. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 8.2023. RN1

NOTE: See record in the Darwin Online manuscript catalogue, enter its Identifier here. Reproduced with permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin. The volume CUL-DAR64 contains material for earthworms. This manuscript is a fair copy of a Darwin draft in the hand of Ebenezer Norman with corrections by Darwin. The entire page has been cancelled with a vertical line, meaning Darwin had done with it. The reverse side of the paper was later used in the 1870s for calculations on the amount of soil pushed up by worms in a square yard.

See the introduction to the Origin of species drafts by John van Wyhe

See an introduction to this manuscript by John van Wyhe.



lers. No explanation whatsoever is offered, as it seems to me, of the innumerable cases of exquisite and wonderful co-adaptation of organic beings one to another;— for instance in the often quoted case of the woodpecker, in which the feet and tail are formed to climb trees, the beak like a wedge to peck into the bark, and the wonderful tongue to secure the hidden insects;— or again with the misseltoe adapted to grow on certain trees and rob their sap, with their berries adapted to be carried by certain birds, and with their unibisexual flowers, absolutely requiring certain insects to transport their pollen. I do not believe a single animal exists without having manifest correlations to other organic beings. How are these facts to be explained? It seems futile to attribute quite impossible to explain them by the effects of changed external conditions, as of greater or less heat and light or of moisture and other such contingencies. To state that after many generations some plant gave birth to the misseltoe, with its threefold relation, appears to me to throw no more light on the problem, than to state simply that the misseltoe was


Leith Hill square yard

[calculations, not transcribed, for "The second square was marked on unenclosed common land, at a height of about 700 ft. above the sea, at some little distance from Leith Hill Tower. … The collected castings, after being well dried, weighed 7·453 pounds; and this would give, for an acre of the same kind of land, 16·1 tons of annually ejected dry earth." Earthworms, pp. 167-8.]

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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

File last updated 24 November, 2023